Also: It’s getting harder for cities to protect workers, and the Eiffel Tower is getting a grander, greener park.
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What We’re Following
Curb your anger: For about a decade, Donald Shoup has collected reports of fatal violence that erupts over parking spaces, cataloging what he calls the war over curb parking. That may sound grim, but to Shoup, an urban economist and parking policy expert, this form of road rage reveals a lesson in economics. When people find a commodity that’s in high demand but considered to be free, they find ways to claim and defend it. When it comes to parking, people may try to hold their spot through lawn chairs, idling cars, or even bursts of violence that lead to death.
“You don’t get murders over Coke bottles or t-shirts,” Shoup said. To him, these fatal disputes demonstrate why cities need to pay closer attention to these contested spaces. Sociologists and criminologists have also theorized about why parking provokes violent outbursts, and understanding why these disputes happen could help explain how to fix it. CityLab’s Laura Bliss asks: How Can Cities Curb Parking Spot Rage?
More on CityLab
Harvey Milk Day
Today is Harvey Milk Day in California, which commemorates the San Francisco supervisor who became the first openly gay man to hold elected office in the Golden State. Milk, elected in 1977 and assassinated the next year, would have been 89 today.
In an L.A. Times newsletter edition marking the occasion, the executive director of the GLBT Historical Society recalls a poignant story when Pete Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten Buttigieg, recently visited the museum. Terry Beswick recalls sharing an audio recording of Milk’s will:
“In that moment, I was just thinking about giving him a brief look at Harvey Milk,” Beswick remembered. But when he stepped back to allow Buttigieg to listen to the recording, he recalls thinking, “Ah, what did I just do.”
“I could see the tears in his eyes and I was thinking, he’s got to be thinking about the risk that his husband is taking, even by running for president,” Beswick said, explaining that although San Francisco is “a bit of a queer cultural bubble,” that isn’t the case in the rest of the country.
Read the full story here.
What We’re Reading
Privatizing the public city: Oakland’s lopsided boom (Places Journal)
How Stockholm became the city of work-life balance (The Guardian)
Silicon Valley’s shame: Living in a van in Google’s backyard (Bloomberg)
USPS is testing self-driving mail trucks (NPR)